Remembering Kirstie Alley: She Spread Love Despite Struggling to Accept Her Own Body and Had Impossible Romances With John Travolta and Patrick Swayze
When beloved actress Kirstie Alley passed away after a brief battle with cancer, the world was shocked and devastated. The mother of 2 was 71 years old and left a legacy of acclaimed roles in memorable movies and popular TV series like Cheers and Veronica’s Closet. But despite her big, bright smile and energetic personality, Alley’s life was never easy, and she had to rise above many challenges on her personal journey.
She lost her mom in tragic circumstances.
One of Alley’s first movie roles was in Star Trek II in 1982. Landing a role in this iconic franchise was a major turning point in the young actress’s career. However, at that time, Kirstie had to face one of the most devastating events that would leave an indelible mark on her life. In fact, just after her fourth audition for the movie, she received a phone call from her sister informing her that her parents were in a serious car accident. Her dad was severely injured, and her mom passed away instantly.
The movie studio had to reschedule her final audition so that she could return home for her mother’s funeral. The actress later recalled this period of her life as “the greatest tragedy of my life.’’ She added, ’’and getting the role in Star Trek was my happiest day.”
She wasn’t always easy on herself.
While being very thin was the standard in Hollywood, Alley was a rare exception and stood out with her full-figured body and attractive curves. However, she struggled with her self-image for a long time, and her weight fluctuated throughout her career. In 2004, she opened up about her relationship with her appearance and said, "I don’t like the way I look — and I like who I am.’’ She added, “I like who I am better than I’ve ever liked myself.”
Her love life was complicated.
Alley was married 2 times, and both unions ended in divorce. Her first husband was her high school sweetheart, who she married at 19. While still with him, Alley admitted to having fallen in love with another man. And even though she insisted she only kissed that man, her deep connection with him was enough for the actress to end her 7-year marriage. She noted, ’’It took a long time [to forgive myself] because I was a horrible person. I destroyed my marriage."
Her second marriage lasted 14 years, during which Alley had a miscarriage and then later adopted a son and a daughter with her husband. At the time of her second a marriage, the actress revealed she had fallen head over heels in love with co-star Patrick Swayze, who was also married at the time.
And although Alley explained that she did not have an affair with Swayze, she admitted, ’’I think what I did was worse. Because I think when you fall in love with someone when you’re married, you jeopardize your own marriage and their marriage.’’
Travolta was the love of her life.
During her second marriage, the actress also fell in love with John Travolta, who she described as the “greatest love” of her life. But she had to resist and control her emotions, which was tricky. She explained, ’’Believe me, it took everything that I had, inside, outside, whatever, to not run off and marry John — and be with John for the rest of my life.’’
She had a heart of gold.
Despite having gone through many hurdles in her private life, Alley chose never to give in to sadness and made sure to spread happiness around her. She was generous and loved to help those in need. For instance, in 2005, she stopped in Memphis and donated supplies and money to those in need in New Orleans and Baton Rouge after a hurricane.
And even though she’s no longer with us, her generosity and the positive impact she made in the lives of the people she met will forever live on. While paying tribute to her, co-star Steve Guttenberg reflected on his memories of her and wrote, ’’Every day she amazed me with her generosity of the tangible and with her soulfulness. The world is a bit empty without Kirstie."
And Travolta, whom she loved so much, was also prompted to make a heartfelt tribute to her. He wrote, ’’Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had." And then added ’’I love you, Kirstie. I know we will see each other again.’’
What was your favorite movie or TV show with Kirstie Alley? How would you memorialize her?